Day 60: Saigon

Distance: 75,11 km Time: 3:37 Total distance: 2709 km

The roads to get to Saigon were really boring,  just straight,  lots of motorbikes, trucks and buses. And the bigger the vehicle, the louder the horn… This image shows a really really quite moment, there was probably a big wall of vehicles coming up to me at that moment. That happens because of some traffic lights on the road.

I got really angry at cars, busses and trucks,  which sometimes entered the traffic from the side of the road and then stopped in the middle of the side lane, where I was driving with lots of motorbikes,  to look for a whole to get into the traffic. When they found a big hole,  they start to move in slow motion speed so I had to break. Then I started to shout at them in all kinds of languages that I know (expect french) 😂

Arrived in Saigon it got really full of motorbikes.

I had to cross through Saigon to get to my friend’s home😀

Now I am relaxing with them and we will all have dinner tonight together for new years eve☺️

EDIT: HAPPY NEW YEAR to everybody

Day 59: the road of the nail

Distance: 128,19 km Time: 6:03 Total distance: 2634 km

I met up a last time with the girl from the day before and we had breakfast together and then I went on the road.

First I had to cross the river with a ferry outside of the city. Because I only had big bills left, the woman in the ticket box just waved me through. Sweet,  ferry for free😀

A new bridge is being build, which will probably replace the multiple ferries running simultaneously.

On the other side I had to stop for this sign,  I don’t know why it was there in front of a bridge😂

I continued my cycling until it happened. What I wrote now is how I thought shortly after it happened,  my thoughts changed later that day: My bicycle started to whabel around, I look at my wheels and knew there was a flat, so I stopped immediately,  as cycling with a flat tire will destroy it and you can’t repair it anymore. I took of the luggage, and carried my bicycle 20 meters to the next café vong (a place where you can buy drinks and there are hammocks,  which are vongs in Vietnamese,  everywhere) . People started to look strange at me,  because I was carrying my luggage and my bicycle😂 When I showed them that I had a flat,  they pointed to the place next to the café vong. I went there to look what it was and left the bicycle back,  it was a place which repairs tires. When I came back,  there was already one guy carrying my bicycle to that place (I was just gone for 10 seconds) 😂 He found the reason quickly,  a 1 cm long old rusty nail… Removed the nail,  fixed the whole in the tube,  fixed the hole in the tire, placed everything back and pumped up the tube 😀 And everything for just 10000 VND😀 no stress for me. How lucky I was to get the flat in front of that store. I could have fixed it myself,  I have all the tools on me,  but I would have been more frustrated.

So these were my thoughts shortly after it happened when I stopped at another café vong to buy new water and rest. The guy in the picture was the one who “repaired”  the tube

I continued for the rest of the day,  just good road.

this kind of reminded me of another city

a big bridge with a sign of 120 km till Ho Chi Minh City😀

Until suddenly,  my bicycle started whabeling again. The back tire was flat again after 60 km. I took my pump out and filled the tire again,  it looked all right. After 5 km again flat. I went to a store with a compressor,  they filled up both of my tires. Which lasted another 10 km. I decided to check it. I was really pissed of. I stopped at a cafe vong (they are really everywhere here 😀) and tried to get my rear wheel out. Sadly it completely blocked and I freaked out a little bit more. The family of the cafe the helped me. Eventually we got it out,  a spring in the fixation of the wheel was blocking. I saw the patch of the repair action of the morning. The glue was eating up the patch… So the guy in the picture above was called an idiot by me. I just replaced the broken tube with a new one (my last one,  I have to buy new ones in Saigon) and pumped it up again. Luckily they had a stand pump and I didn’t have to pump it up with my little hand pump😀

Shortly after that it got dark and I decided to find a place to sleep. I just needed to cycle for 11 km in the dark and asked around as nobody knew about the placed marked on my map. In “My Tho” I then found a really cheap and good hotel 😀

Tomorrow I will enter Saigon, only 70 km left till there. There some people I met at the border invited me in for new years eve and to stay for one night 😀

Day 58: cutting something off

Distance: 75,42 km Time: 3:39 Total distance: 2506 km

This morning I finally wanted to continue and I had to leave the lovely family. After packing,  having breakfast and getting down the mosquito net, it was time to say goodbye. (The girl in the picture is the little sister of the girl I was talking/texting to)

Cycling was nice,  along the river,  around one hill and not too long.

I really like the traffic lights here, they all have these countdowns

I arrived early in Long Xuyên. The reason why I stopped in this city is because here lives a girl who hosts cyclists. I found her on a website called warm showers,  which is dedicated for hosting cyclists☺️ But she was unable to host me at the moment because of family visiting,  so I have to stay in a hotel next to her home. Why I still stop here? 1. it was planned to stop here to meet her 2. she helped me before I came to Vietnam and when I came to the last family when we had communication problems,  so I wanted to meet her in person to say thank you.

After a long shower and washing my cloth,  we met up and spend the rest of the day together. Eventually we talked about my beard as many people already told me,  that it is too long😂 So we went to a barber shop and cut it off. (yeah it was too long)



For dinner I was invited in by her family☺️

Wow there was really less to tell today,  but it was a really nice day☺️

Tomorrow I will continue my journey towards Saigon where I will arrive one day later for new year’s eve.

Day 57: Forest of silent guides

Distance: 22,22 km (hihihi) Time: 1:16 Total distance: 2431 km

I found out that I am not sleeping at the girl’s home but the home of her grandparents. I spend the evening writing to her on Facebook as she can’t speak English but writing with the help of Google Translater sometimes. Also I was playing with the grandparents on their big arcade game table.

In the morning the girl had to go to school. I cycled to a forest near by (10 km)  which is called Tra Su. The forest is completely under water and for 130.000 VND (5,7 $) I got a fully packaged tour with motorboat, handboat and observation tower. Sadly the boat riders and the guy on top of the observation tower didn’t spoke a word of English, so no information for me about the forest. But it was still amazing and lots of birds.

My favorite picture of the forest

Down from the observation

The guide at the observation tower wanted to take a picture with me,  yes he has yellow glasses on😂

On the way back to the village

Back at the grandparent’s home, the girl was back from school. We all had lunch together.

After lunch we climbed up a tower next to the house. The tower has something to do with Buddhism as there were Buddhas on every floor.

in that house lives the family hosting me☺️

After some relaxation in a hammock, the girl and I went into the village for dinner.

The rest of the evening I spend with the family,  I showed them a little bit of my juggling and tried to teach them all a little bit.

I decided not to continue  cycling anymore today, as my legs hurt a little bit… So I am still in the same village. I will reach my friends town tomorrow. ☺️

On of the many guests in this house

Day 56: Gooood morning Vietnam 🇻🇳 

Distance: 129,21 km Time: 6:32 Total distance: 2409 km

Today I was able to start really early. The way to the border was easy and flat.

Arrived at the border,  I directly started the process to get through. At the Cambodian side I had to wait because there were many people in front of me. At the Vietnamese side, it went a little bit slower to check in, I got asked if I had any illness or feeling of sick. Then they were not sure if my bicycle should also pass the security scan or just my luggage. At the end they just wanted my luggage😂 Then they checked my passport again. Out on the street there was again a checkpoint to do a final check of my visa. And then I was on the road in Vietnam 😀 Between the two offices of the two countries,  I took some pictures.

The first city wasn’t far away. In there I had 3 tasks:

  1. get Vietnamese money at an ATM
  2. get some food
  3. get a SIM card for my phone.

ATM was found quickly found. Food also. A mobile shop too, but not an official one,  so now I have a SIM card which one isn’t registered to me😂 Do I care? no😂

I continued for another 80 km.

Arrived in Phú Hòa in the dark I started to ask around for a guest house. The first one I asked, told me that a little bit down the road would be one,  but that one was full,  there would be another one more down the road. Eventually the people from the first place were behind me on a motorbike and offered me to stay at their home😀 Awesome,  I got a place to sleep,  I ate with them. They are so kind☺️ really happy☺️

Tomorrow I will continue to a friend who helped me a lot here in Vietnam already,  for example I called here when I had communication problems with my hosts of tonight. Now everything is all right☺️

Day 55: Along the ocean

Distance: 108,59 km Time: 5:40 Total distance: 2279 km

Again I begin my post with yesterday, as I went into a bar yesterday evening to enjoy one or two beer and then it happened,  a local family was invited me to drink some of their beers with them from the happy hour. The guys presented them self as Rom, Diamond and Lucky. They were all tuk tuk drivers 😂 (on the left side one can identify the reflections of the wheels of my bicycle😁)

They also had some food on them,  like chicken and this one:

These fried insects tasted really good (salty) and I didn’t have the feeling like I had one time on the road when one insect landed in my mouth while riding😂 These were very soft.

Today I started normally. At the beginning it was a little bit hilly but nothing really steep. After 20 km it got flat again for the rest of the day. The flat part began with rice fields which then got replaced by little fisher villages.

At the road I then thought: yeahh great a hill

But the road went over the hill in Cambodian style: going around😂

The first wreak I saw on the road

Finally one good shot of a water buff

20 km before I arrived I met 2 cyclists from Poland. First they were just interested in my bicycle and equipment and then the topic changed to where to find a good restaurant on the road. We separated quickly as they still had to do 60 km to Sihanoukville.

Now I am in Kampot,  another touristic city at the ocean of Cambodia.

Tomorrow I will cross the border to Vietnam😀

I once (pretty often) told myself on the bicycle to talk a little bit about my equipment. I still don’t know why I took this shot today of my handle bar,  but now I can talk about it. So from left to right: 

  1. A red buff,  I take it off to clean my face from sweat.
  2. My bell,  it’s useless here,  because they don’t know the sound,  and it’s not loud enough for them.
  3. My GPS,  telling me (most of the time)  where to go and how many kilometers remaining. It’s not always good to know how far you still have to go,  but I think otherwise I would never go so far. It’s fixed with a red cord in case it fells of because it’s not correctly fixed. It happened once to me on the road bike at 30 km/h back at home. It’s still working fine but I think it’s not really healthy for the GPS😂
  4. In the front: my handlebar bag (yeah it’s still there,  although I said it was broken,  it doesn’t look perfect,  bended to the front, but it’s okay, I think). It contains: My camera, notebook (not a laptop, but paper),  my sunglasses (when they are not on my nose), my phone,  power bank. On top there are paper cards of Nepal  (completely useless with GPS and smart phone). On the right side there is my little horn,  actually that one is really useful as bell because people and some animals are used to the sound and it’s louder. It also amuses people when I park my bike somewhere,  so I always know that somebody is looking after it☺️. The orange thing hanging down from the bag next to the fixation of the bag is from the juggling convention in Herxheim.  It was a frog with 4 legs,  now it only has 1 left😂 (hang in there froggy)
  5. My road computer,  telling speed,  distance, time on the road, average and total distance. Normally it’s set to maximum speed so that I don’t always see how less I went since I last checked,  which would be every few seconds,  if it would show the distance.
  6. A black sweat band. It hard to see on the handle but it’s the one I use the most on the road, because the buff is hard to get of and doesn’t really absorb that much sweat but it’s good when I want to clean my head when I don’t have my helmet on.

Day 54: Coconutbeach

no cycling

First the rest what happened yesterday. At the ferry I met some more people from the hostel in Phnom Penh but they went to a different beach than I. It was nice to met them again.

The speed boat ferry took one hour but it brought me directly to the beach where Soraya and Andreas were staying. I saw the sunset on the water: AMAZING

At the beach, Soraya welcomed me at the pier and we went to the tens where we got invited in for christmas dinner by the owner.

After the dinner the owner came by our table and told us to change to our swimsuits to see glowing plankton. As I had never planed to swim on my trip I didn’t pack a swimsuit,  so I just went into the ocean with my underwear. What I saw then was amazing. The owner turned of the lights of the beach,  he went with us into the water and told us to shake our hands inside the water. The plankton, which one can’t see because it’s too small begins to glow as soon as it thinks,  it’s being attack (That’s what the owner told us). So now imagine how swimming in the night must feel like,  when the water starts to glow green as soon as you start to move. Amazing (again).

After the swimming in the night, we spend some more time in the restaurant playing a game and went to sleep.

Until now it was all what happened yesterday.

I decided to stay a whole day at the beach with Soraya and Andreas,  before going back to mainland with the last ferry. Sadly that one left already at 14:30. So I kind of only had half a day at the island,  but it was still amazing. We went swimming and walking around the island before I had to leave.

We took one last selfi when I had to leave

Arrived at mainland I collected my bicycle from the ticket office of the ferry,  as I was not allowed to take it with me and I didn’t see why I should have taken it with me. I found a hostel and skyped with my family at home as they were all together at one place for christmas😀

Now I am planning my day tomorrow to get to Kampot (100 km).

Merry Christmas 🎄

Day 53: Down to the beach

no cycling,  just 4 km together to get to the bus in Phnom Penh and from the bus to the ferry in Sihanoukville.

I tought it would be a wonderful morning. Getting up,  have some breakfast, the van would pick up my luggage, I would follow him to the bus station with my bicycle (it didn’t fit into the van,  which picks you up to get to the bus station) , get into the bus and get down to the beach of Cambodia.

It didn’t all went as planed. Till the pickup everything was all right. Then I was told to wait at the hostel,  as the van would go to another hostel to pick up more people and they would come back for me so that I could follow them. I waited and waited. Suddenly they passed by without breaking,  they just honked and waved to me. The chase through the city began. Arrived at the bus station I got my luggage back and searched for the bus. My luggage got stored in the bus and then my bicycle…​ no. I forgot to buy the ticket. Okay I will buy the ticket for the bicycle,  5$. They didn’t want to sell me a ticket for my bicycle,  they told me “no space”,  I had to take another bus one hour later. Luckily I saw the space in the luggage compartment of the bus and I knew that it would fit as it was the same type of bus I took some days ago. They kept telling me the same lie over and over, till I got really angry and shouted at them, that I know that there is space and I know what to do to get it in. Then suddenly they said okay and even let me jump over the queue at the ticket office,  as it was already 9:15 (the bus should have left at 9:00), but heyyy its cambodian time😂 My bicycle got a ticket too, took my front wheel off placed my bicycle in the bus,  my luggage (which they already took out again)  back in and went into the bus. I had to do everything by myself,  they didn’t even help me😂 I wasn’t the reason for the delay,  there were more people coming later than me! 

In the bus I realised what they tried to do to me. they tried to scam me. Because the bus at 10 o’clock is another bus,  which costs the double😯 f**** a****** (to keep it child save here😂) 

The rest of the ride was normal,  they stopped at 12 o’clock at a restaurant with reasonable food and arrived with 2 hours of delay at Sihanoukville. From there I had to take the ferry to get to the island where Soraya and Andreas are staying. I had to wait for one hour on the ferry (departure time at 17:00). So I am chilling at a bar next to the beach.

Tomorrow I will probably try to get back to mainland and start cycling again towards Vietnam 😀 Alternatively I would stay another day on the island,  I don’t know yet. I have to see when I am at the beach ⛱

Day 52: Tuol Sleng

no cycling,  at least it is not worth to mention as it was.

As I already cycled over 2000 km and I don’t have a chain tool on me, I decided to change my chain as it’s sometimes recommended after that many kilometers on not the nicest roads. Therefore I went to the bicycle shop of the brand Specialize. I already had a new chain on me,  I bought it in Kathmandu. They replaced it for free😀 It was 2 km away.

Next task on the list was organizing a ticket to get down to the beach. My idea was to get the train. The alternative was the bus,  but I wanted to take the train. Sadly I forgot one problem. No it was not the bicycle,  the train was already full for tomorrow…​ So I had to get a bus ticket…​

After all the non touristic tasks I got to my touristic part of today: visiting Tuol Sleng Museum. It was the prison where people were  tortured during the time of the Khmer Rouge, before they were send to the killing fields (which I visited yesterday)  to be executed. Again really great to visit this sad place. I got an audio guide and listened to everything there was to learn everything about the time of the Khmer Rouge. 

For lunch I went to the russian marked again to get noodles as it was close by the museum. 

After the museum it was 15 o’clock. I was told that my passport with the Vietnamese visa would be ready at 16 o’clock, but I went there anyway,  as I had nothing to do anymore. My passport was ready with the approved visa😀

On the way to the Vietnamese embassy I saw this kids paradise 😍 I checked it out,  the whole tower was full of activities for kids like climbing,  laser tag,  bumper cars,… Sadly the maximum age was 12 years…​ (Yeah that is my finder in the lens…)

I was lazy and took a tuk tuk back to the hostel

As I was so interested in the story of the Khmer Rouge, I watched a documentary over this topic as the audio guides only explained what happened at the places I was at but not how it really started and ended.

For the rest of the evening i was just chilling in the roof top bar and packing/preparing my stuff for tomorrow as I leave in the morning at 8:30 for the bus.

So that’s also what I will be doing tomorrow,  taking the bus to get down to the beach,  where I will get a ferry to get to an island where I met up again with Soraya and Andreas😀

Somewhere in the city I saw this commercial,  where I thought: “Photoshop makes every commercial better”

Day 51: Killing Fields

no cycling

Today I met up with Mila from Germany and we took  a tuk tuk together to get to Choeung Ek Memorial also know as the killing fields. It’s one of the many killing fields of the Khmer Rouge, where they executed people who didn’t follow or didn’t seem to follow the regime of Pol Pot,  the leader of the Khmer Rouge. We got an audio guide and listened to all the stories they provided. It took us like 2 hours. They build a memorial stupa where they placed skulls there. It’s an interesting and sad story. I can only recommend it.

After the tour we went to the Russian market to grab some noodles. Then we separated. I went to the Vietnamese embassy to get my visa. As always I was coming unprepared and forgot to take my passport pictures with me…​ So back to the hostel and try again to get a visa. Just filled out the form, added the photo, went to the counter,  handed in the form, the picture, my passport and the money. As I am not in a hurry I didn’t took the 1 hour express service (10$) but the 24 hours standard service. So currently they have my passport.

After that I went to the train station to get information about how to get down to the beach by train. Sadly the station was already closed but I got a sheet of paper with the information. I went to the central marked.

From there I went chilling on a bank next to the river.

Now Joshua and I will go to the cinema watching “Passengers”.

Tomorrow I will try to find a shop to replace my chain,  get a train ticket,  go to S-21 (the prison, where people were kept and tortured during the time of Khmer Rouge) and get my passport back with the visa inside hopefully😊